System Center Virtual Machine Manager for Beginners (Part 6)

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

In the previous article in this series, I showed you how to create and organize host groups in System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2 (VMM). In this article, I want to turn my attention to virtual machines and show you some techniques for virtual machine management.

VMM differs from the Hyper-V Manager in that it is designed to provide a centralized view of your virtual machines. However, it might be more technically precise to say that VMM provides multiple virtual machine views. Let me show you what I mean.

If you think back to the previous article, you will recall that VMM displays host groups and virtual machines from the VMs and Services workspace. You may also recall that VMM contains a default host group called All Hosts. The All Hosts group contains all of the Hyper-V servers that you have brought under VMM management.

So with that said, System Center Virtual Machine Manager provides three main views of your virtual machines. The first of these views is the All Hosts view. If you select the All Hosts container, then the list of virtual machines will include all of the virtual machines from all of the host servers that Virtual Machine Manager is managing. For example, if you look at Figure A, you can see that I have selected the All Hosts container and that a number of virtual machines are listed on the right. More importantly, if you look just above the list of virtual machines, you will see an indication that there are 38 virtual machines on the list.

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Figure A: The All Hosts view lists all of the virtual machines from all managed servers.

The second view that you can use for your virtual machines is what I like to call a host group view. For example, in Figure B I have selected the Lab host group. This causes Virtual Machine Manager to display only the virtual machines that reside on hosts that are a part of the selected host group. You will notice that the number of virtual machines on the list drops to 26.

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Figure B: Virtual Machine Manager displays virtual machines residing on hosts that belong to the selected group.

The last view is what I like to think of as server view. If you select an individual Hyper-V server, you will see the virtual machines that exist on that server. For instance, if you look at Figure C, you can see that I have selected a server named Lab3, which only contains one virtual machine.

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Figure C: Selecting an individual Hyper-V host causes the virtual machines residing on that host to be displayed.

Before I move on, I want to point out that although I am using Hyper-V hosts in all of my examples, System Center Virtual Machine Manager has the ability to connect to Citrix XenServer and VMware ESX hosts. In fact, you can manage your Citrix and VMware virtual machines alongside your Hyper-V virtual machines through System Center Virtual Machine Manager 2012 R2.

When it comes to interacting with individual virtual machines, Virtual Machine Manager offers most of the same options as the Hyper-V Manager, plus a few extras. You can access most of the available options by right clicking on a virtual machine, and choosing the appropriate option from the shortcut menu, as shown in Figure D.

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Figure D: Virtual Machine Manager offers most of the same options as the Hyper-V Manager.

One of the things that I especially like about managing virtual machines through System Center Virtual Machine Manager is that when you select a virtual machine, a summary appears beneath the list of virtual machines. For example, if you look at Figure E, you can see some basic information for the selected virtual machine such as the number of processors and the amount of memory that have been allocated to it. You can also see the total storage consumed and the average daily CPU performance.

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Figure E: System Center Virtual Machine Manager provides summary information for the selected virtual machine.

Creating a Virtual Machine

The process of creating a new virtual machine works a little bit differently in Virtual Machine Manager than it does in the Hyper-V Manager. You can begin the process by either selecting a host or a host group and then clicking the Create Virtual Machine tile, located in the ribbon (be sure to choose the Create Virtual Machine option).

At this point, Virtual Machine Manager will launch a wizard that walks you through the creation process. The wizard’s first screen asks if you want to build the virtual machine from a template or if you want to create a virtual machine from a blank virtual hard disk. Templates are virtual machines or virtual hard disks that have been created for the purpose of creating new virtual machines. I will discuss templates in more detail later in this series.

Assuming that you choose the blank virtual hard disk option, the next screen that you will encounter asks you to specify a virtual machine name, a description, and to choose the virtual machine version.

The next screen that you encounter asks you to choose the hardware settings for the virtual machine. You can specify the hardware manually as you do through Hyper-V Manager, but there are a couple of other options available to you, as shown in Figure F.

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Figure F: Configure the virtual machine’s hardware.

The first option is the ability to select a hardware profile. A hardware profile is essentially a hardware configuration template. It exists so that you can reuse a standard hardware configuration rather than having to manually specify the hardware settings each time you create a new virtual machine.

The other option that exists is the compatibility profile. As you can see in the figure, you can choose the type of host that you plan to use for the virtual machine (Hyper-V, ESX Server, or XenServer).

The next screen that you will see is the Select Destination screen. This screen allows you to choose a host group. As an alternative, you can choose to store the virtual machine in the library. The library is used for storing template virtual machines. If you have a private cloud environment in place, this screen also gives you the option of deploying a virtual machine to a private cloud.

The following screen asks you which host server you want to create the new virtual machine on. Host servers are displayed along with a star rating which reflects the suitability of each host to handle the virtual machine.

The next screen that you will see is the Configure Settings screen. This screen is pretty straight forward. You can choose your storage location and perhaps a few other provisioning options (depending on the hardware settings that you chose earlier in the process).

The following screen asks you to specify the virtual machine’s network connectivity. As is the case with the Hyper-V Manager, you can choose a virtual network adapter and a VLAN. Virtual Machine Manager also allows you to choose a port classification (if one exists)

The second to last screen asks you to specify the operating system that you plan to install on the virtual machine, as well as automatic startup and stop actions. Once you have specified this information and click Next, you are taken to a summary screen. If all of the settings appear to be correct, you can click the Create button to create the virtual machine.

Conclusion

In this article, I have discussed virtual machine views and I have discussed the virtual machine creation process. In the next article in this series, I want to turn my attention toward the library.

If you would like to read the other parts in this article series please go to:

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